My career as an entrepreneurs' coach has spanned more than 16 years and countless clients. As such, one thing I know for sure is that there is a distinct difference between how five- and six-figure business owners think versus seven-figure entrepreneurs. Fortunately, in my experience, there have been very few entrepreneurs who could not make healthy adjustments to their thought patterns and behavior, given the right kind of guidance and support.
Once you have a viable vision and acquire the habits and mindset to support it, there's no reason you can't achieve that vision. Here's how successful entrepreneurs think and you can too.
They think long term, without restrictions
Like many entrepreneurs, the founder of a million-dollar-plus business often begins with a phase one, and possibly a phase two, plan. However, entrepreneurs who cross the seven- and eight-figure dollar marks don't limit the possibilities. At the very least, they have a general idea of how their business model can expand, and possibly even morph into something very different, as the company grows. They also know that a great vision not only anticipates the direction of their company but also represents their values and passion.
As Jack Welch says: "Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion."
They understand the importance of innovation, versus more of the same
Many business owners either don't know how or are too fearful to step beyond their original core offering. As technology advances, the needs and wants of the market change with it. Also keep in mind that innovation is not strictly about technology, and it's not just about solving existing problems either. A great innovator can predict their market's challenges, problems, and opportunities and stay ahead of things with innovative thinking.
Albert Einstein had this to say about it: "You can't solve a problem on the same level that it was created. You have to rise above it to the next level."
They may fear risk, but they take one anyway
You don't go from a garage operation to seven figures without going out on a limb. Successful entrepreneurs know they are going to fail, and they accept it. Why? Because every failure is a lesson that takes them closer to goal completion and their vision.
Arianna Huffington says it best, "Failure is not the opposite of success -- it is the steppingstone to success. For anyone who is an entrepreneur, that is perhaps the most important lesson."
They don't dwell on what the competition is doing
You won't succeed by focusing on what your competition is doing, because it limits your ability to innovate. Instead, focus on what your customer base wants--even if they don't know exactly what that is yet. Keep ahead of your customers' problems and desires by anticipating them. If you follow in the path of your competitors, you will always be a follower, never an innovator.
Take it from Jeff Bezos. "If you're competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering," he says.
They seek out new information with an open mind
Podcasts, books, mentors, coaches, conferences, online articles, and more: My seven-figure clients engage in activities that promote ongoing growth. They listen to podcasts in the car, read before bed, work with me and other mentors, and never lack for inspiration. It's not only business growth they seek but personal growth as well.
As Brian Tracy says, you'll save time in the long run: "Personal development is a major time-saver. The better you become, the less time it takes you to achieve your goals."
They don't place themselves in a dead-end job
Being stuck is all about mindset, and it's reflected in your actions. When a business owner is stuck, it's partially because of how they are spending their time. Even though most business owners are familiar with Michael Gerber's words of wisdom to work "on" your business, not just "in" it, they largely ignore this sage advice. Your job is to lead, develop other leaders, delegate, innovate, and to do what it takes to grow your business and brand. If you remain behind your desk most of the day, it's a good sign that you're doing the wrong things.
"If your business requires your presence, you don't have a business, you have a job,"
They inspire growth in their employees
By now you know that success is an inside job with a powerful support system on the outside. Your company culture is at the center of that support structure. Great leaders understand the importance of growth, not only for themselves but for those who make the business work--their employees. Build a collaborative environment so your team can learn from one another. Provide professional and personal development opportunities, and inspire a growth mentality at your meetings. Ask your employees to share their successes and talk about challenges (in a positive way) at and in between meetings.
More from Jack Welch, one of my very own mentors: "Before you become a leader, success is all about growing yourself. After you become a leader, success is about growing others."
Changing how you think is often difficult, because most people don't even realize they have limiting thought patterns. Here's my litmus test: If a thought makes you feel bad in any way, then it's limiting you and is likely to keep you stuck. When you're ready for a change, let this next quote be where you begin:
"To fulfill your purpose, to find the answers you seek, and to be the future-self you want the world to see, you must first love the person you are in this very moment." --Marla Tabaka